Welcome to the Linux Foundation Forum!

Screen size / shape

I have an old computer that I'm using as a media center at home, Computer had no OS so I used the Ubunti Boot disk I made to get my lappy up and going and hey presto, a working machine.

Problem is that the computer thinks the screen is 4:3 and the TV is a 16:9 the system settings / displays doesn't give me the option to change it to 16:9 and when I watch a movie there are a lot of short fat people staring.

I'm connected with a 15 pin lead.

what Have I missed, this should be easy, No?


  • LegacyUserLegacyUser Posts: 0
    edited November 2012
    Hi Floating Dutchman.

    I don't know why I always say this, but I do: I am NOT a Linux guru. As a matter of fact, I may not even be able to help you. I'm just a guy that's dinked around with computers for a while. So I'm sorry if I ask you to do X, Y, Z, A, C... and end the whole mess with "I don't know". So PLEASE don't put a whole lot of faith in me, I'm just here to give this my best shot. :)

    First, you say that you have an old computer with Ubuntu on it. For me to get a better feel of the situation, could you please tell me the system specs? Such as the type and speed of the components? (if you don't know all of it, that's fine, just throw me whatever you've got.) Also, do you have a graphics card? This is very important to know. That 15 pin lead you were talking about, that is a VGA cable, right? Which version of Ubuntu do you have (and is it 32 or 64 bit? I know that an old computer will probably be 32 bit if not 16 bit, but to be frank, one user's version of old is not that same as another.)

    Well, that's all the questions I need to ask for today. Get back to me when you can and I'll see what I can do. And, by the way, you missed a WHOLE lot: fixing a bug in Linux is never easy. LOL

  • Computer specks: Pentium 4 @ 3GHz and 40G HD, the computer was an office (I think) computer so I don't think it has any fancy graphics card. Ubunit 12.04 LTS.
    Yes, VGA cable.
    Computer cost me $0 because it was going to cost $$$ for windoze XP, Honestly, why would you?

    I can get movies to play properly but every time I play a movie I have to click Aspect: 16:9.
    Why can't I just tell the computer that that is the screen it has?
  • LegacyUserLegacyUser Posts: 0
    edited November 2012
    Thanks Floating Dutchman.

    My diagnosis is the video card. You said that it's nothing special. So I suspect (especially because it was once an OFFICE computer. How good of graphic rendering do you need in an OFFICE?) that the card is too basic to "project" a 16:9 signal to the TV, making the TV pick up the slack. So, from my basic knowledge, I would suggest getting a better graphics card. (I'm not saying to go buy a mind blowing gamer's graphic card, but just one that will project a 16:9 signal to a TV. If you buy too recent of one, you will probably have driver problems.) Evidence to back this up is as follows:

    1) Have you noticed that in most offices (not all) the screens are 4:3 in ratio? That's because that is the graphic's card base resolution.


    2) You said earlier that the OS doesn't give you the ability to change the screen resolution. I could change the resolution on an older PC than the one you're fighting now, with an older OS and project the correct resolution to a full fledged, 16:9 LCD TV; the only thing that was different though was that it had a graphics card that could handle that sort of thing.

    So, I would recommend updating the graphics card to just a good enough level so the computer can "project" the signal correctly. HOWEVER if you want to wait around for the system moderator (Who is a Linux guru, don't you know? ;) ) so he can give you advice and maybe save you from throwing around money, that's cool. I'd do the same thing in your position.

  • mfillpotmfillpot Posts: 2,180
    edited November 2012
    The issue is your video card, generally when connecting a computer to a hd tv through a VGA cable it is not capable of receiving the full resolution available. You may be able to change the config file to change possible resolution (checkout https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Config/Resolution) for guidance. However since the video card is weak and the output is limited you will most likely face some real modification issues. I recommend shopping for a cheap video card for your hardware with hdmi output, the hdmi output will allow the system to output full 1080 (1920x1080) resolution.
  • LegacyUserLegacyUser Posts: 0
    edited November 2012
    What he said. :)
Sign In or Register to comment.